In a world with a rapidly expanding market for private data brokerage, there are a number of reasons you may want to keep your personal information and web accounts under an extra layer of protection. Here are a few ways you can improve your password security and make your passwords, messages and photos more private.
THE PROBLEM According to a 2015 study by Telesign, 54 percent of people use five or fewer repeated passwords across all of their web accounts, and 73 percent of online accounts are protected by a duplicated password. Using the same passwords over multiple accounts makes your accounts extremely prone to break-ins, especially if you are one of an overwhelming number of people who use passwords like “password” or “12345.” Many security experts recommend using randomized strings of characters (such as jf56KaO8%7) as near-unguessable passwords for your web accounts, but it can be difficult to memorize one of these strings, much less a string for every one of your accounts.
THE FIX Memorize one randomized string of characters, and for each of your web accounts, use the string followed by the name of the account as your password. For example, your passwords for your Gmail or Amazon accounts, if you used the example string above, would be jf56KaO8%7gmail and jf56KaO8%7amazon, respectively. This way, your password for each account is unique, but still nearly unguessable.
THE PROBLEM People often keep all their passwords listed out together, whether on a physical piece of paper or a digital note contained in an app. A physical list is somewhat safe, but using a digital note is a highly unsafe practice, as your passwords can easily be viewed by someone with little to no hacking experience.
THE FIX Download a password-protected password database app and memorize the password to the app. Although someone with more hacking experience may still be able to gain access to the app, it adds an extra layer of protection that can make all the difference.
THE PROBLEM Adolescents in today’s world often have private text conversations with their friends that they may not want their other friends or their parents to see. Deleting your text conversations is an easy solution, but what if you want to save them to look at later?
THE FIX Download the Wickr app – a password-protected private messaging system with a secure encryption. Only you and the message’s recipient(s) will see your message, and you can choose how long each message remains in the conversation before it expires (and all traces of it are wiped from existence). Furthermore, a new locally encrypted key is generated for each individual message sent, so no one except the sender has the key to decipher the content. This means that if someone were to somehow access your message, it would just appear as a string of code, useless without its key.
THE PROBLEM Sexting is a rapidly increasing phenomenon today, and although generally frowned upon, it’s not going to stop occurring. Using Snapchat may seem like an easy solution to the potential problem of someone saving your sexts. However, not only are there apps that work around Snapchat’s screenshot notification, but some people view snaps on one device while taking photos of them with another.
THE FIX The second problem mentioned above is almost unsolvable, but the first can be avoided by using the app mentioned above – Wickr. It not only notifies you when a screenshot of a photo or message is taken, but also sends a copy of the screenshot to every member of the Wickr conversation from which the screenshot was taken.